THE Department of Health (DOH) and the Provincial Government of Pampanga started the province-wide free measles and polio vaccination in line with the national program of Phase 2 nationwide measles-rubella, oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity of the DOH.

Health officials and workers are now doing the rounds of community vaccination all over Pampanga. The nationwide Measles Rubella-Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization campaign will be rolled out in two phases. Phase 1 was conducted from October 26 to November 25, 2020 in Mindanao regions, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa and Bicol.

Phase 2 rolls out this 2021 in Visayas regions, National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

DOH is conducting the campaign for children under five years old -- around 9.4 million children for the measles-rubella vaccine and 6.9 million children for the oral polio vaccine.

It could be remembered that a polio outbreak was declared by DOH in September 19, 2019, 19 years after the country was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization in 2000.

A highly infectious disease that mainly affects young children who have not completed their vaccination schedules, polio is transmitted person-to-person primarily through the fecal-to-oral route resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene practices and, less frequently, through contaminated food or water.

Once in the intestine, the poliovirus multiplies and can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis or even death.

The health department estimated 2.4 children under five years old are also susceptible to measles, which has been considered one of the world's most contagious diseases. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and spreads easily to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and through close personal contact, vaccination is seen as the best protection against the condition.